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Us 15, Plavix 7, America 6, Billy Mays 5, Maryland 5, Dr. Roizen 5, Sanjay 4, Cleveland 4, Dr. Sanjay Gupta 3, Broadview 3, Ben Cardin 3, Dr. Gupta 3, Obama 3, Dr. Weil 3, Dr. Wecht 3, Dr. Bill Frist 2, Dr. Michael Roizen 2, Paul 2, Jane 2, The Cleveland 2,
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  CNN    Larry King Live    News/Business. Interviews with  
   newsmakers and viewer calls. New. (CC)  

    August 12, 2009
    9:00 - 10:00pm EDT  

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tomorrow, 9:00 p.m. eastern time. that's again, tomorrow night. that's going to do it for us. "larry king live" comes up next. good night, everybody. good night, everybody. see you. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com tonight, death threats over health care reform. the issue could be tearing america apart. what do critics fear? >> we're all afraid we're going to lose something. >> will you be able to keep your doctor? what about your current insurance? are lives at risk if things change? confusion, chaos and questions. >> how are you going to look at my children, in their eyes, and tell them they're going to have a better future? >> does anybody have the answer? next on "larry king live."
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welcome to "larry king live." i'm wolf blitzer sitting in for larry. we have an outstanding panel for four physicians. we're all going to get smarter in the next several moments as we try to understand what's going on in this health care debate. joining from us the cnn center in atlanta, dr. sanjay gupta. he's our chief medical correspondent. he's a practice neurosurgeon. joining us from nashville tennessee, bill frist. a heart transplant surgeon. former senator majority leader. his new book entitled "a heart to serve the passion to bring health, hope and healing." that comes out in october. we're looking forward to that. in cleveland, ohio, dr. miking roizen, he's the wellness officer and chairman at the wellness institute at the famed cleveland clinic. he's the author of "you staying
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young." and dr. james rowhak. he's a cardiologist himself. let me start with sanjay gupta. sanjay, viewers are confused. debate is rages across the country. what's the most important thing that we have understand about this debate right now? >> it's a good question. obviously, there's a lot of different issues here. let me try and boil it down to get back to the basics. autopsy since the beginning of this, you've heard the president talk about the health care and in the economy. and when asked how can he afford to this this with health care. his answer is, how can we not afford to this this. the reason that's important, his idea to cut costs to increase access is at the heart of all of this. what you're hearing out of the various bill, first of all, the president doesn't have a specific plan. the senate is currently debating one. it's only so far in the house that you've actually had a bill passed. trying to fill the gap of 46 million people who don't have insurance.
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that's where the crux of the debate lies. how are you going to do it, how are you going to pay for it? the house bill, a lot swirling around this, according to the congressional budget office is going to come up with $242 billion short in terms of paying for itself. some of it will be paid for by focusing on wellness. i've read through this book, wolf, there's almost 1,200 pages. there are a lot of things confusing to are people. will there be subsidy for people with abortions. and what will happen with the end-of-life care. does the american medical association support the president's efforts right now to reform health care? >> we support the goal of affordable quality health insurance coverage for every american. because simply put, if you don't have health insurance in america, you live sicker and you die younger. and for us, as physicians, who
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care for patients every day, we want to make sure that the one second where a patient suddenly loses their job and doesn't have health insurance, that's something we want to change. and so, we address the goal of affordable quality health insurance. that's the reason why the ama has been engaged in this for many years. and now, at this important historic time in our nation. >> you support the goal. but i just want to be precise. you're not ready to say you support the house language. this 1,000-plus page document that dr. gupta was referring to? >> well, we supported h.r. 3200 which was the bill to move the process forward. we knew some something didn't come out of the house that nothing would happen at all. the status quo is basically unacceptable for millionings of americans who don't have health insurance or those who have a prior condition, try and buy health insurance and find that that insurance won't pay for
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that preexisting condition. but we want to make the process forward so we can have affordable quality health insurance for everybody. you can have your doctor. the doctor and you decide what's important for you. and we think that bill allows some of this to move forward so we can come up with a conclusion that's important for america. >> senator frist, you're a physician among other things right now. where do you stand? you obviously were a politician for a long time. where do you stand right now on whether or not this should go forward, or they should go back to the drawing board? >> well, wolf, you're right. i spent 20 years practicing medicine in heart surgery and heart and lung transplantation and 12 years in politics. my perspective is this, we've got the best health care in the world. the very best. heart transplants, the technology, the innovation, the cancer therapy. but we have huge gaps and disparities that have to be addressed. the fact that we have about 20 million people who are uninsured that really deserve, in a
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country as rich as ours, to be addressed so that they do have afford about access to health care. and did rohack is right, you can live a less healthy life and die earlier. they deserve that. the real cost, the premium is going up three times faster than wages. and that really can't be sustained. we have a moment now in time where we can address both of those. and unlike what the ama has done and endorsed that house bill which i don't think does anything in terms of, so-called, bending the cost curve or slowing down the health care costs, that will drive up the deficit $239 billion over a period of time, actually may goes the system worse. i think we need to stay at the drawing board. listen to the senate very carefully. listen to max baucus. listen to chuck grassley, listen to the senate finance committee who are putting forth a bipartisan effort to do those
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things. address it and bring those costs down. >> a former member of the senate, obviously, you have your friendships involve there had as well, senator frist. let me bring dr. roizen into this conversation. you're at the cleveland clinic. it's one of the great hospitals in the world. you're on the front line. from your perspective, should this health care reform process that the president would like to see happen, should it go forward? >> i think it has to go forward. it is for our competitiveness for jobs and for our society as a whole, we're twice as expensive as europe. three times as asia. it's like we have a sink that's overflowing with chronic disease. what we've got so far is people are giving us more mops, more access. where the insurance companies are telling us to mop faster. the real question is, what can we do to turn off the faucet of disease and unplug the sink.
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and senators wyden with cornyn and hatch, from the democratic side have got a bipartisan solution. it's called take back your health where they actually pay to do livestyle treatments of chronic disease that will save enormous amounts of money. the key is, don't just mop faster. don't just give us more mops. we've got to turn off the crime disease and what gets paid for gets done. that's what gets done. itlies us turn all of the chronic disease faucet. >> i know dr. gupta wants to weigh in. we're going to speak with dr. andrew wile, he's standing by by skype. i want to get his perspective as well. lots more coming up on "larry king live."
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what do you think about health care reform? go to cnn.com/larryking. click on blog. tell us, do you, support president obama's plan, b, oppose it, c, don't know enough about it. joining us by broadband is dr. and drdr. dr. andrew wile, a famed physician. his website is www.dr. wile got
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calm. his new book entitled "why are medical our future." i'm sure it will be a huge best-seller. what's your perspective on this debate that's under way across the country right now? >> i have a somewhat different perspective. i think that unless we change the content of health care, any attempt at reform is doomed. any system we set up, whether single pay for universal coverage is going to be taken down by uncontrollable costs. we have to lower the costs of health care. and the kind of medicine that we now practice is not sustainable. >> what does that mean to -- >> -- with the height of that. and so i think the trick is to figure out how do we get the costs down. the first step is prevention, obviously. but secondly, we have to train physicians and other health professionals to use low-tech interventions for common health problems. >> give me an example. >> well, you know, i wrote a
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recent blog about the treatment of gird. gast gastro intestinal reflux disease. the drugs are not intended for long-term use. dietary adjustments, like egl, which increase's the mucous coating in the stomach. this is what we should be doing first before we go to the extensive kinds of medicine that we now use for everything. >> what responsibility, in your opinion, do physicians out there, do doctors have for this problem, as you see it? >> well, i think it's up to the physicians to learn these other ways of dealing with disease. you know, physicians are as discouraged and angry as patients today. and great numbers of physicians
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are leaving the practice of clinical medicine because they've lost their autonomy. and they're very discouraged what's done in medicine today is dictated by policy reimbursement. not really by science. not really by evidence or good physician's judgment. so i think, you know, there's enormous discontent among both physicians and patients. this is a huge problem. and we can't change it just by trying to give more people access to the present system. the present system is a disaster. it doesn't work. i will just repeat. we have to change the content of health care. the nature of what we do in medicine and health care if we're going to have a sustainable system. >> is that your explanation, basically, why the world health organization recent lly rated t united states, i'm looking at the study right now, 37th in health outcomes, even though the u.s. spends per capita a lot more money? >> well, this is what should make us so furious, we spend
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more per capita than anywhere in the world and we have nothing to show for it. our health outcomes are dismal. and we have a large percentage of uninsured people who don't have access to health care. when you hear people say we have the best health care in the world. i'm sorry, that's not true. we have excellent health care for a select number of people for select condition. but even now, we're seeing outsourcing the health care. we're seeing americans going to thailand, to india, of all places, for high-tech operations. coronary bypass, hip replacements because they can get better care in the countries. we do not have the best health care in the world. and we should be embarrassed for the amount of money and what we have to show for it. >> dr. weil, i appreciate your perspective. they have different perspectives on what's going on when we come back. ♪ well i was shopping for a new car, ♪
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crowds turned out once again today. as we indicated earlier. some people had serious questions. some had their own agenda. here's what they were talking about wednesday in maryland and iowa. >> ho are you going to look at my children? >> if we don't get health care costs under control, our national debt will continue to grow. >> we, the american public, are given the time to really understand and digest that. and that we not run that through the stimulus package, like they did cap and trade. >> if anybody criticized the need for negotiating, improve got six weeks to look at a bill that you wouldn't otherwise have. >> what we expect is for you to fight for us. we do not want this nation to be forceless. fight for us, don't give an inch. democrat or republican, we will vote you out.
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we're back with dr. sanjay gupta, dr. bill frist, dr. michael roizen and dr. james rohack. sanjay, i understand you have a question you want to ask one of your colleagues. >> yeah, dr. frist, you and i have talked about this. you have a pretty inside knowledge of the insurance industry through your family. i was curious, when wolf was asking earlier, do you trust the insurance industry the way it stands now to be able to solve some of the problems you outlined? and also, how will this play out
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without a public option? >> first of all, dr. weil commented we do have the best health care. you're not going to england. breast cancer is not treated as well, survival is not as good. or even to canada. number two, i think you're exactly right, sanjay, what they need this time around is insurance reform. president obama said we not only need health reform, but health insurance reform. a nhuge problem today is the cherry picking that insurance companies do. if you have a preexisting illness, right now, it's next to impossible to get insurance. that doesn't cost anything. when we talk about the cost curve. the deficit being added to. and it should be invested in the bills. the insurance industry shouldn't be the bogeyman that everybody
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is going after because that's not the fundamental problem. the fundamental problem is the consumerism, having a choice themselves. the active moment should be at insurance reform right now. >> dr. rohack, you're the president of the american medical association. the president says if there were a public option, a government-run insurance agency that would compete with the private insurance companies like united health care, blue cross, blue shield, it would make them more competitive across the board. how would the ama feel about that? >> we know there's a government system that's subsidized that's the medicare and medicaid. we medicaid, you have access issues. we midcare, the reason this is very important, there's a fatally flawed formula, if
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nothing is done, 21% cut in reimbursement january 1st, 2010, it's going to affect seniors' right to medicare. some would say there's nothing in there for seniors. we would strongly disagree. prior congresses would not agress the issue. at least not in the house bill. it fixes this fatally flawed formula once and for all to investigate in health technology to bring that cost downward. >> let me bring in dr. roizen of the cleveland clinic. and dr. roizen, you're the chief wellness officer there. i want you to react from what we heard from dr. andrew weil that there are at any lternative med. for example, if you have reflux, don't take the prilosec and others. does he have a good point?
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>> he has a very good point. we overeat. we in fact don't eat the right foods. we don't do physical activity. we smoke too much and have too much stress. if we deal with those, that's the lifestyle and the easy treatments. that's why senator wyden came to the cleveland clinic. we are 50% of the national average for our own employees. and we lowered that a substantial amount by getting in fact food that is healthier identified easier for them. offering free physical activity. and encouraging it. by changing the way we address stress and free tobacco cessation. just as dr. weil said, it's not a protein pump prohibiter, it's changing diet or at least treat
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it with diet sloon or exercise alone. those are really keys. for 16 years, we've shown if you do those four things healthy, you decrease both the cross and the incidence of chronic disease by 80% to 90%. >> this is a subject very close to dr. gupta's heart, as we know. sanjay, what can we do? so much of the medical costs would go away if people just listened. they exercised. they ate properly. they didn't smoke. things that everyone knows they have to do but people system do it. what can the country do to force people to straighten out their lives because billions and billions of dollars would be saved. and their lives would be -- they would live a lot longer. >> i think in some ways, you hit the nail on the head, wolf. people know what to do here. i do believe that. i travel around the country talking about this at college campuses and various programs. one thing that strikes me about what dr. roizen is saying. he's obviously made this work at
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the cleveland clinic, but the idea in any way of being able to legislate behavior. many i think dr. roizen would agree, people have access to the very best health care, the best in the system are still overweight, they're obese. they smoke. i'm curious how health reform will get people to change behavior. this is a problem, no doubt. but how do you change that? >> well, i think that's a really important point for your viewers to understand. no matter if you'd promise everybody promise, the same health care that the united states senator has, that's not going to change the outcome of health or the cost of health in the united states of america. health, the burden of disease, the cost is more than just medical services. more than just universal care. more than just hospitals and doctors. it's what all of us had talked about but you can't really legislate it. it's behavior. behavior is twice as important as universal health care or doctors and who's actually delivering that care because
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behavior is obesity, number one. it's smoking, number two. it's wearing seat belts. it can't be legislated, though. to promise huge health savings in legislation in washington which does nothing about behavior is just flat out wrong. >> excellent point for all of the physicians. unfortunately, doctors, we have to leave it right there. we're going to bring you back on "larry king live." no doubt about that. dr. sanjay gupta. dr. bill frist, dr. michael roizen and dr. james rohack of the american medical association. we'll continue our coverage of health care reform. is it going to happen? is it not going to happen? we got a political discussion on the practical results of what's going on right now when we come back. me too. you know, i just got out of a bad relatio... it's okay. thanks. goodnight. goodnight. (door crashes in, alarm sounds) get out! (phone rings)
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i want your opinion about health care to be heard. go to cnn.com slash larry king. you'll see the questions on larry's blog. say as much or as little as you want. "larry king live" that's where you have to go, cnn.com/larryking. let's talk a little bit about the politics of health care reform. is it going to happen. is it not going to happen. joining us, paul begala, the democratic strategy. listen to the exchange at ben cardin's town hall meeting in maryland today. >> what are you going to do to restore trust and faith in the american people that you know what you're doing and that you're not putting us and your children and grandchildren in debt over health care, cap and
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trade and creating the illegals to get out of our country? what are you going to do? >> we're going to have -- there's going to be some disagreement in this room, and i understand that. i think that the obama administration has already started to restore trust in health care by the -- >> in maryland, which is a pretty democratic state, paul. where are the democrats? we hear a lot of republicans and conservatives showing up, complaining socialisms. where are the democrats? >> well, actually, there's a lot of support. eight town hall meetings in the last nine days he's come away stronger. i read, the tougher questions he got were from the left, why aren't you for single payer? >> do you think the democrats are doing a good job -- >> i think the republicans -- most republicans are more like
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dr. frist. they're more like sheri. they're not hate-mongers. the problem is, that's all we see. what we saw from hagerstown, maryland, is completely fine for me, nothing wrong with that at all. but painting a swastica. >> on the democratic governor. >> these people know that they're going to get elected because of swing voters, i independents. if you're paintsing swasticas you're not going to get that. healthy debate is good. rude behavior is not helpful. i think it backfires. >> does it backfire? >> you take the single incident like the swastica. that's obviously not helpful. we've seen this around the country with literally thousands of people comes out.
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haller hagerstown, maryland is my hometown. you do not see people get that excited unless it's a football game between north high and south high. this is real. the trust issue that we heard in the absence of senator cardin with regard to president obama, the reason americans don't trust this, and don't trust the president is because he tried his hardest to get this rammed through congress, before the members of congress, go home and talk to their constituents. had they passed this bill, these town hall meetings would be a heck of a lot worse. >> this is break, five-week recess, in which these people go to the town hall meetings, they energize, they get themselves excited about all of this going to make it more difficult for the president to get what he wants? >> no, actually. called on a bunch of members of congress, his staff, i haven't
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picked out one person who was for the obama health plan. i old boss lloyd dawson who gave me my first job. the democratic governor from texas. it's backfired. it's disgracing the legitimate republicans and legitimate opposition. >> it's energized a lot of republicans and conservatives from the other side. >> not just republicans. i think it's fair to say these are republicans at these meetings. we heard ben cardin say today at this meeting that he would never vote for a bill that increased the deficit. now, president obama says that it's deficit-neutral. the cbo, the congressional budget office say it's something else. saythy it's well over $200 billion that would increase the deficit by that much. i think this is ben cardin's get of jail free card.
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dianne feinstein is also -- has some reservations because of the deficit question. so if it comes down to that, i think they're going to see a lot of democrats have a real good excuse to not vote for this bill. >> i think the deficit is one thing and death threats are another. there are legitimate threat's. >> maybe a tiny fringe columnist out. there i think that's what they're seeing. the main in this country see this, they can't sustain the status quo. my worry is, though, in not calling down this lunatic fringe. the real responsible republicans, they're not calling this down. where are the republicans standing up and saying no. stop the threat. stop calling people out. rush limbaugh -- rush limbaugh -- >> compared them to the republican fringe vote.
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>> he's it's unchallenged self-proclaimed leader of the republican leader. >> he's a wonderful voice on the radio. he's not the republican party. they're marginalizing these folks at these events saying they're fringe, when there are literally house to and thousands of people who have never been active in politics before who are coming out and exercising their free speech and want to have this discussion in congress. when you marginalize themselves by calling them names. >> they have. because responsible republicans don't have the courage to stand up for limbaugh, to stand up to glenn beck, to stand up to the guy who brought a gun to the rally in new hampshire. the man brought a loaded gun. >> people are not afraid to stand up, i think we're seeing that at these town hall
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meetings. they're eager and energized to talk to members of congress to let them know how they feel. it's wonderful that this vote did not go through. >> you're not worried about the fringe? you're not worried about violence and calls our president a swastica? >> i think i'm more worried about nancy pelosi calling these people un-american. >> the debate is un-american and it is. >> this debate is not going away. paul, sherry, thanks for coming in. there's interesting developments in the billy mays story. he's the tv pitchman who died last month. was there a mistake with the autopsy? we'll have the latest for you on that when we come back. ( crack of bat, cheering ) not playing with the kids? not on these legs. poor leg circulation. doctor says it's p.a.d. peripheral artery disease? hmmm. more than doubles your risk
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for a heart attack or stroke. so i hear. better ask your doctor about plavix. plavix can help protect you from a heart attack or stroke. plavix helps keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots, the cause of most heart attacks and strokes. my cousin the m.d. call your doctor about plavix. (male announcer) if you have a stomach ulcer or other condition that causes bleeding, you should not use plavix. when taking plavix alone or with some other medicines including aspirin, the risk of bleeding may increase so tell your doctor before planning surgery. and, always talk to your doctor before taking aspirin or other medicines with plavix, especially if you've had a stroke. if you develop fever, unexplained weakness or confusion, tell your doctor promptly as these may be signs of a rare but potentially life-threatening condition called ttp, which has been reported rarely, sometimes in less than two weeks after starting therapy. other rare but serious side effects may occur.
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billy mays rose to fame endorsing all kind of products on tv. this death at the age of 50 shocked so many of us, as did this on the autopsy report, cocaine use and the development of heart disease. we'll be talking with our guest, dr. cyril wecht, he's the forensic pathologist, attorney, former coroner of allegheny county in pittsburgh, pennsylvania. jane velez-mitchell, he's the host of "issues." on hln. and jane, let me go to you first, give us background for viewers who may not have been
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paying attention to the whole billy mays story. >> well, essentially, wolf, there's a whole controversy over the autopsy report for releasing the details. others say, hey, don't be in denial and don't blame the messenger. coroner's report said that he died from early heart disease. but cocaine was a contributing factor. they didn't actually find cocaine, but by-products which concluded that he used it in the days leading. you they also found prescription valium, vicodin and alcohol. and that was unnecessary and speculative. all of a sudden, you have the very famous pathologist, dr. cyril wecht taking a look and saying, huh-uh, he actually died of a cocktail which is more damaging than what the autopsy report said in terms of billy mays' image. so it's almost like when you
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protect these facts that are given, and saying the toxicology report has to be wrong, it brings attention to it. and the problem can get worse for the family. >> let me bring in dr. wecht. dr. wecht, you reviewed the autopsy. the toxicology report. you've got some serious problems with what they concluded. >> yes, wolf, there are six brain-impressed drugs, including alcohol as jane has mentioned. xanax and valium which are is are anti-depressants and three narcotic-type drugs, hydrocodeine and oxycontin. and cumulatively, even those each of those are at a sub-toxic level when acting in concert and act to depress the respiratory system. and then can lead to
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cardio-respiratory arrest, cardiac arrhythmia and death. in my opinion, wolf, the lease of the finding of hypertension and arterio-cardiovascular disease a day or so after the autopsy was premature. you have a 50-year-old man dying suddenly, i think you should wait until the toxicology report coming in. they did not. they just released that. subsequently, when the report came, they seized upon cocaine, not one of the drugs i mentioned. cocaine say stimulant. i do not believe that cocaine played a role. there is a metabolite, benzelecoline. and then they talked about cocaine -- >> hold on a second, dr. wecht. billy mays' wife, deborah, has
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disputed this. releasing the report that were speculative. she also said she's simply unaware of any nonprescription drugs that he might have been taking. based on your experience, is this realistic? >> yeah, i agree with your other guest here, it's a central nervous system stimulant, cocaine is. and there's many other medications on board. but if they're taken in therapeutic doses, it's very possible that someone could just go around and their family members aren't aware of the drugs they're taking or the combination, potentially, being lethal. what we're talking about is a couple of different things. we're talking about cocaine stressing the heart. that is not uncommon. that actually is very common. in fact, it increases heart rate, it increases blood pressure. and the heart has to work harder to pump out blood. and sometimes, you get
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atherosclerotic plaque. that itself can change a heart rhythm. additionally, the addition of alcohol can make the cocaine even more pronounced. when you add the hypnotic combination, they can increase that -- >> guys hold on a second. i just want to point out that "larry king live" did reach out the hillsborough medical office seeking clarification. we were told that a statement could only be provided by their public information officer and that he was out until friday. we'll continue our conversation with our three guests. also, this year's medal of freedom recipients were honored at the white house. we'll be back in 60 seconds with that. (announcer) your doctor knows
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tylenol doesn't interfere with certain high blood pressure medicines the way aleve sometimes can. that's one reason why doctors recommend tylenol more than any other brand of pain reliever.
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16 people in the nation received the highest honor today. the medal of freedom ceremony took place at the white house this afternoon. here's a look at some of the recipients. >> the recipients of the medal of freedom. were not set out to win this or any other award. they did not set in pursuit of glory or fame or riches. rather, they set out guided by passion, commended to hard work, aided by persistence, often with few advantages. professor steven hawkins, he has become one of the world's leading scientists. his work in theoretical physics which i will not attempt to explain further here has advance our understanding of the universe. a judge and arizona legislator, cancer survivor, sandra day o'connor is like the pilgrim in
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the poem she sometimes quotes to, has forged a new trail and bridge behind her for all young women to follow. it's been said that sidney poitier does not make movies. he makes milestones. he once called his driving purpose to make himself a better person. he did. and he made us all a little bit better along the way. >> billie jean has declared a goal to be the number one tennis player in the world. we honor what she did to broaden the reach of the game. to change how women athletes and women everywhere view themselves. desmond tutu, senator edward kennedy, harvey melk were horng the other honorees. the case of the wrong-way driver in which eight people were killed. what really happened on that highway? the dispute over the driver's condition, we'll assess that when we come back.
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let's check in with anderson cooper to find out what is coming up at the top of the hour. what are you working on? >> we're also covering the health debate. the key republican voices weighing in at a town hall meeting and endorsing it is the most inflammatory allegations against it. fighting in afghanistan, u.s. troops move to take back a key afghanistan strong hold and next week the presidential election vows to disrupt what's the strategy? and hate crimes on the rise with as many as 50 new groups having formed in the last two months. the head of the property center which tracks crime groups.
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wolf? >> anderson, thanks. we'll see you at the top of the hour. welcome back. authorities say diane shuler was impaired by marijuana and alcohol when she killed eight people including herself back in july. she drove her minivan the wrong way on a parkway while running into an suv. the toxicology results raise this question. could they have been wrong? we're going to assess what happened with cyril wecht and mark geragos when we come back. a natural ingredient that can lower cholesterol. put them together... and you get 0tntrum cardio. the first and only complete multivitamin... that can lower cholesterol. centrum cardio.
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...or if you're already sick... ...or if you lose your job. your health insurance shouldn't either. so let's fix health care. if everyone's covered, we can make health care as affordable as possible. and the words "pre-existing condition" become a thing of the past... we're america's health insurance companies. supporting bipartisan reform that congress can build on. have discovered how easy it is to use legalzoom for important legal documents. at legalzoom, we'll help you incorporate your business, file a patent, make a will and more. you can complete our online questions in minutes. then we'll prepare your legal documents and deliver them directly to you. so start your business, protect your family, launch your dreams. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side.
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the heartbreaking story that happened on the parkway.
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explain to our viewers the background because i want to get into the story a little bit. for viewers not familiar, eight people are dead? >> yes. this is another case of a significant other challenging a toxicology report and getting a huge backlash from people saying, hey, you're in denial or perhaps you're lying. but, which ever, you're insulting our intelligence because we have to believe that they maybe did an autopsy on the wrong body since they found that this wrong-way driver had the equivalent of ten drinks in her system, plus pot and they found a plastic bottle of vodka. the brother of the dead mini driver said no way is she an alcoholic or drinking. when i said good-bye to her at the campground, everything was fine. the reason there was that vodka bottle, we drink so little, we drove back and forth with it all summer long. the relatives of those that lost their lives in the crash, especially the van that was hit head-on, were absolutely
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outraged saying that this is not an accident. it's a killing. and there's no way that he couldn't have known that his wife had a problem. and this raises the whole issue, wolf, of a society, not just a family, of an entire society in denial of what is the face of alcoholism and addiction. what does it look like? it's not just the crack addict and the drunk in the gutter. it's a middle class problem. >> her husband insists that she was not a drinker, that she was completely sober. the toxicology report, the autopsy, has a very different assessment. something is wrong here. >> well, i suggested that the medical examiner's office repeat the test being done by an independent lab and i think the intellectual arrogance not to do that. i don't challenge the validity. i'm sure that the test is correct. there is a bottle of vodka found in the car and she had that rather high level of marijuana. so i don't challenge it. but repeat the test and the
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family has a right to go to court aask for biological specimens to have the test done themselves. they are not doing it because they really know that the test results are correct. so because of these two dichotomy, the end result is that it's out there and people are challenging the validity. >> hold on a second. i want to bring in mark geragos. eight people are dead and the driver is dead. legally speaking, does any of this make any difference? >> no, not really. i know that there's so much anger over this and right fully so. but the fact is, they are never going to charge the husband and the husband may be out there. ideally to try and dampen down any kind of civil liability. but the fact remain cyril is absolutely correct. if she had survived, she would have had the right to have retested her own. so why not retest? it's a simple thing.
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it costs 125 bucks. you send it over to a lab and you are done with it. that's the end of the story. it's an awful case and the problem is that people want to strike out and understandably so, they want to find somebody to blame it on and, unfortunately, there really isn't. everybody is dead who had some accountability. >> dr. rema, is it possible for an alcoholic or a drug user to hide this kind of information from a loved one? >> it's definitely possible to hide this from a loved one and if you are driving with bunch of kids in the car, someone would want to not ever deal with you to not see this happen. there are definitely warning signs about someone when they start getting into addiction and their addiction increases. >> and mark geragos, when you look at this whole story, it's such a heartbreaking story.
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among other things, because kids are involved. where, if anywhere, does it go from here? >> well, i think that what you're going to see is a civil lawsuit. i think it's unlikely that any criminal charges will be filed. clearly i would expect within the next 30 day, if not sooner, you will see a civil lawsuit. people are going to get sued. if there's any kind of way that they can trace back who gave the marijuana and things like that, you might find somebody get creative in that event as well. i just think this whole thing is going to be played out in the civil arena and they will fight it out there. and then you'll probably find that somebody at some point, some insurance company is going to pay to have her retested and the samples retested. that's how it's going to pay out. >> and, jane, do you agree with that? >> yeah, absolutely. there's also a lot of talks about lawsuits. the bigger problem is there are so many families living in denial and it's called